Institutional mechanisms and the consequences of international environmental agreements

Yoomi Kim, Katsuya Tanaka, Shunji Matsuoka

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10 Scopus citations


This article examines the institutional mechanisms affecting the environment and economies of the member countries of international environmental agreements (IEAs), particularly focusing on the legalization and flexibility aspects of IEAs. To identify the factors that influence the consequences of IEAs, we applied the Bayesian probit model to a database including 123 IEAs related to 23 international environmental regimes. The environmental consequences data were taken from the existing database and rescored (Böhmelt and Pilster 2010; Breitmeier et al. 2006), and unintended economic consequences were identified using data from 209 countries. Legally binding IEAs showed a significant improvement of environmental performance, but a significant decrease was related to the presence of inflexible rules. Moreover, decision-making flexibility was positively related to environmental improvement, and negatively related to regime body flexibility. The economic consequences model showed a positive significant impact of the secretariat’s independence on the economies of member countries, while legally binding IEAs showed negative effects. All flexibility elements showed positive impacts on economic consequences. In our research, IEA uncertainty had negative effects on both the environmental and economic aspects; however, we observed positive relationships in the environment and economic analyses when IEAs promoted public goods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-98
Number of pages22
JournalGlobal Environmental Politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We express deep gratitude to Tobias Böhmelt of the University of Essex and ETH Zurich, and Ulrich H. Pilster of the University of Essex, who provided the data for this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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